Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Old Blue Bus review of Florida Banjo

Old Blue Bus
an audio blog with no particular destination
Monday, October 20, 2008
New Release: Mary Z. Cox - Florida Banjo

Florida Banjo is the latest CD from one of our favorite old-time banjo players. Mary Z. Cox has introduced the art of pre-Scruggs style banjo to an entire generation. Through her workshops and classes she has unleashed a vibrant community of old-time banjo and dulcimer players on a musical world that had all but forgotten the beauty of clawhammer style banjo. As usual, Mary has also provided tabulature for the songs on Florida Banjo available as a book for aspiring banjo players.

The fifteen songs on Florida Banjo not only showcase one of the most amazing practitioners of old-time banjo, but some other mighty fine musicians as well. As expected, Mary's husband Bob Cox adds his delightful flat-picked guitar. The sounds of Bob's guitar and Mary's banjo intertwine so effortlessly, as only a duet with decades of musical intimacy can. Other guest artists adding to this thoroughly enjoyable album are Kerry Blech, Jim Crozier, Lo Gordon and Ellen Sheppard.

Mary Z. Cox was interviewed by Larry Wines for his syndicated radio and television show "Tied to the Tracks." The show has yet to air, but the interview is available online (video here.) Be sure to watch all five segments, each featuring a wonderful performance by Mary Z. Cox, often accompanied by Bob Cox.

For those of you that already own Mary Z. Cox's CDs, Florida Banjo is a must-have, as I don't know of anyone who owns only one Mary Z. Cox CD. All six of Mary Z. Cox's CDs are cherished treasures in my own collection. Those of you not yet initiated, give a listen to the track below and watch the video above. Then follow one of the links below to start your collection.

Mary Z. Cox - Wind That Shakes the Barley.mp3
beautifully performed on her custom Deering GDL Banjo.

Artist: Mary Z. Cox
Ttile: Florida Banjo
Artist Website:
Mary's blog: A Secret Life of Banjo
CDs and downloads available at:
CD Baby
County Sales
Elderly Instruments
or your local independent record store.

posted by Ed at 10/20/2008 09:05:00 PM

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Drumming On the Edge of Banjo (Mary Z. Cox & Yazid)

A new sound coming in my secret life of banjo. :) Acoustic percussion has been working its way into the edges of my banjo, resulting in a new group forming (Bob & I are still very much recording and performing our duet--this is an additional group that we think world music fans will enjoy.

We are "Drumming On the Edge Of Banjo" and here is our short bio.
Two time Florida Banjo Champion, Mary Z. Cox, and African Caribbean drummer, Yazid, blend early Florida roots music in highly percussive rhythms for dancing and listening.

Yazid (William Johnson), a former professor of ethnomusicology at Florida State University, and drummer for Marvin Gaye, is a professional drummer and percussion instructor that plays regularly with several performance and dance groups all over Florida.

Mary Z. Cox, banjo recording artist, plays banjo with her guitarist husband, Bob Cox, in concerts and workshops from coast to coast, and has also played for old time dances in Florida, Georgia, and North Carolina for many dance groups.

Mary Z. & Yazid are very pleased to introduce this new sound that draws from the not so diverse African/Caribbean and Southern banjo cultures. The banjo, is, after all, a drum with strings.

Yazid and Mary Z. are currently recording a “Drumming On the Edge of Banjo” CD which will hopefully be available in 2009. 

Sound files coming soon. For booking information (concerts and dances) please contact me at: